'Only 2% of rainfall is used for irrigation. We need to do a better job of utilising this important resource': Nathan Guy

'Only 2% of rainfall is used for irrigation. We need to do a better job of utilising this important resource': Nathan Guy

Content supplied by the Minister for Primary Industries

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is welcoming new investment of $750,000 into irrigation projects in Central Otago, and $100,000 in the Rangitikei, coming from the Government’s Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF).

"There is major unrealised potential across the country for further irrigation development, and these two projects will help unlock that."

"This is about creating jobs and exports, particularly in provincial New Zealand. It will play a major part in realising the Government’s goal of doubling primary sector exports by 2025."

The Central Otago funding will go towards backing the next stage of the Manuherikia Catchment Strategic Water Study.

The work programme will complete technical, environmental and economic investigations which began in the pre-feasibility stage. It will identify the most cost effective, efficient and sustainable options for water users in the Manuherikia Catchment.

"This has the potential to increase the reliability of the currently irrigated area, and increase the total area of fully irrigated land from around 15,000 hectares to 35,000 hectares."

"The outcome of the feasibility study will provide enough detail for interested parties to make a commitment to invest in the project for the next stages."

Other parties contributing funding to the project are Otago Regional Council, Pioneer Generation, the catchment irrigation companies, private water right holders and dryland farmers with the Central Otago District Council providing support.

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IAF funding of $100,000 has also been announced into a Rangitikei District strategic water management study. This will assess the availability and supply of water within the district.

"With a $100,000 investment from the Rangitikei District Council, the Government has matched that to assist the development of regional approaches to integrated water management," says Mr Guy.

The project will look at overall costings and assess what additional benefits and opportunities there are from confirming reliable water sources.

"After the extreme drought that most of the country suffered earlier this year, the need for better water storage is obvious. Currently, only two per cent of rainfall is used for irrigation. We need to do a better job of utilising this important resource," says Mr Guy.

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